For the second year in a row EF Torbay have had a successful cross country running season with record numbers competing in the regional final for the Southwest.
The competition was held at Holden Forrest on a lovely sunny but very cold day. Last year we had 3 students get through the national finals which was unfortunately cancelled due to poor weather. This year we have a much stronger team that practice every week often in very challenging conditions so our expectation for numbers through to the national finals was very high going into the competition.
Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or grass. Sometimes the runners are referred to as harriers (dogs). The course, typically 4–12 kilometres (2.5–7.5 mi) long, may include surfaces of grass, and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road. It is both an individual and a team sport; runners are judged on individual times and teams by a points-scoring method. Both men and women of all ages compete in cross country, which usually takes place during autumn and winter, and can include weather conditions of rain, sleet, snow or hail, and a wide range of temperatures.
Cross country is growing in popularity in the UK and particularly among UK schools and it is a big part of the ISA sport calendar, and one that we have placed a lot of emphasis on.
The regional final was on a very difficult course at Holden Forrest which saw runners racing through dirt tracks and through wooded obstacles. There is always an element of risk involved in this type of running but it is also very easy to lose or gain a lead because the course can be up to 12 kilometres.
We entered students in a number of races depending on their age and we had strong runners in all categories and after some very closely fought races the following students made it through to the final in their age groups. Marcela Perches, Daniella Del Rincon Vazquez, Ida Parschat who came first in her race, Alexia Galbany Grau, Elena Vasquez Lorenzo, Jacopo Lussetti, Maxat Abdualiyev. All these students came in the top 7 in their race but in some cases they came in the top 3 and most races had at least 20 racers taking part.
The final is held later in March and we are really hopeful of getting a podium finish.